Pchum Ben

Mon 11 October 2010

We had a four-day weekend due to the Pchum Ben holiday. Pchum Ben is Ancestor Remembrance Day, one of the two big holidays of the year. At this time, the gates of hell are ajar and the dead are able to return. Families offer food at the temple on behalf of their ancestors. The office was empty on Wednesday. Many coworkers took an extra day off to travel home for the holiday.

The temple in the middle of town was crowded on Friday.

image0

There's not much parking along the river, so cars pulled up on the sidewalk as they could. The temple was full of elegantly dressed ladies, men in suits, and little girls hopping around in flouncy dresses. They carried the metal containers I've seen folks bring lunch in, as well as flowers and fruit.

The courtyard of the Wat is full of ornate statues. I'd mistaken them for fancy decorations, but they're actually tombstones. Little old ladies swept them clean. Many markers had bundles of incense sticks and flowers.

I didn't go inside the inner temple. It was busy, and it wasn't a spectator event. Not the time for gawping tourists. I'll look more closely on my next visit.

I retreated to the Blue Pumpkin Cafe for a cold drink. A few families came in for ice cream and treats on their way home.

Category: Holidays and Festivals